Aug 25, 2013 11:00pm PDT
. known as the freedom ride, they organized it in 1961. seven blacks and six whites left washington, d.c. on two buses they headed south. at first, only minor hostility greeted them. but when one bus arrived in birmingham alabama, a mob surrounded them and beat the freedom fighters. >> i was on the greyhound, that was the bus they set on fire. burned it. and we would have all burned to death had it not been for the fact that one of the fuel tanks of the bus exploded, scared the hell out of the mob. >> reporter: that ride ended abruptly and the riders feared the violence would snuff out the movement. the first ride was not the last. students willing to face death picked up the cause boarding buses heading south. in his san francisco home, frank nelson shares his story with blankenhide. nelson took his first ride in june, by then the movement had spread to trains. >> they got off the train and headed to the homes that were right there. the black riders went into the whites homes and they were carted off to jail. >> reporter: nelson was 23 when his body was bruised and beaten. >> friend, i'